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The food blogger turned top-tier chef has cited the psychological and physical toll running the restaurant has taken on him and his wife and partner Aurelie Jean-Marie-Flore during the eight years Hedone has been in business.
Jonsson, who was diagnosed as a teenager with food allergies requiring him to take cortisol injections in order to cook initially trained as a chef in Sweden and then later as a solicitor. While working as a solicitor he began blogging at gastrovill.com and quickly amassed a large and highly engaged audience documenting his gastrotourism and adventures in tasting.
At the age of 44 Jonsson decided to follow his dream of becoming a chef and opened Hedone in London’s posh Chiswick district. The restaurant proved a huge success and Jonsson’s obsessive attention to detail and innovative creativity made Hedone one not-to-miss for foodies. Jonsson used his excellence in baking to expand his Hedone Bakery brand with a bakery at Dynamic Vines at Spa Terminus.
However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Swede. While the restaurant received a Michelin star in 2012 Jonsson told Big Hospitality that “the last year or so has been disastrous financially...the margin has been OK. The problem is the number of covers. We’re not the only ones.”
In 2011 Jonsson was attacked in his restaurant when after chasing away a man urinating on the delivery door of his restaurant, a gang entered Hedone and attacked him. He was stabbed in the arm and had to have broken glass removed from his forehead.
Hedone restaurant released the following statement about the closure.
“Chef-owner Mikael Jonsson used to be a food blogger — the kind that travelled the world in that faintly deranged but fascinatingly obsessive quest to find out what can be better than the best. He opened Hedone in the affluent Chiswick neighbourhood in 2011, having learnt all he knew from eating at the world’s ‘best’ restaurants. It’s not an exaggeration to say that his own restaurant now belongs in that select group. Jonsson is as mercurial as he is talented; his tasting menus can be staggeringly accomplished — steak tartare aux frites reimagined as raw deer, potato ice-cream and Oscietra caviar.”
The closure is a great loss for the London fine dining scene, but Jonsson must also be admired for making the right decision for his and his wife’s health. The closure can’t really been seen as a total shock as Jonsson had never hidden from the fact that he didn’t necessarily see Hedone as the focus of the rest of his life as this quote from squaremeal.co.uk attests.
“I don't really have a life now. I'm here all the time, but whatever I've done I've always been completely absorbed by it. I love being in the kitchen, but we'll see how many years I do it for. I want to try to find my own style of cooking and that's extraordinarily difficult. I don't know whether I will ever succeed. If one day I realise I'm not going to make it, then I will probably get bored and do something else.”